Don’t own a springform pan for cheesecake? No problem! Making these chocolate-bottom mini cheesecakes is a dream come true. If you have a 12-cup regular muffin pan and a little baking skill, you are all set.
That was exactly how I started with my cheesecake journey 8 years ago. At that time, I just started learning to bake western style desserts. I didn’t have many fancy tools such as springform pans. However, I was able to make my first batch of black-bottom mini cheesecakes by following a recipe from a magazine.
Hmm… how did that go?
It was quite successful. Those little guys disappeared immediately at my school potluck party. Because they are cute and bite-size, that was expected. A few years later, as my diet switched to a strict gluten-free diet, I replaced the graham cracker crust with my gluten-free flour. They taste even better.
First, I want to share with you a few tips I learned on how to make these mini cheesecakes in a muffin pan.
- Line your muffin pan with paper liners and lightly spray with oil.
This will make removing the mini cheesecakes from the muffin pan much easier. It will also give them a little protection from each other if you place them in a container and transfer to a party later. The paper liner also gives the cheesecake some vertical lines on the side and makes them prettier.
- Use the bottom of a small glass to press down the cheesecake crust firmly.
Finding a small glass with a bottom that can fit in the muffin pan will make the process easier. It works much better than using your fingers or the back of a spoon.
- Add some topping to decorate the cheesecake.
Sometimes you may experience the sinking down or cracking on the top of cheesecake. Most of the time it depends on the ingredients you added. For instance, store-bought pumpkin puree and homemade pumpkin puree may contain a different amount of water. This will affect the consistency of cheesecake filling. If you don’t use sugar or use much less sugar than traditional cheesecake (because you want to make a much healthier version), it may crack in the center. Topping the cheesecake with some whipping cream, whipped cream cheese, or jam and fresh fruit can easily “fix” the problem. It also will make the cheesecake much more appealing.
I have some leftover pumpkin puree from my recent two gluten-free pumpkin recipes: vegan pumpkin spice truffles and pumpkin spice latte smoothie. With some great help from my 4-year-old son, we combined the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, sour cream, and other ingredients for these chocolate-bottom pumpkin mini cheesecakes. What a fantastic holiday party choice!
I have to tell you, I didn’t add any sugar to it. Instead, I used sugar substitutes, erythritol and stevia. Compared to sugar, erythritol is a little bit pricy. However, it’s one of the most popular natural sugar-substitute for people who need to be on a low carb diet. I love to use it in baking because it can dissolve like sugar and gives the same volume as a recipe calling for sugar. I often use it with pure stevia extract powder to create the perfect sweetness for desserts. If you are on a very low carb diet, you may use almond flour and coconut flour to make the bottom instead of gluten-free flour.
Are you ready to make your first batch of mini cheesecakes yet? Don’t be surprise when people approach you with lots of compliments.
- 100 grams All-purpose gluten-free flour
- 20 grams extra dark cocoa powder
- 53 grams butter, salted and melted
- 2 tablespoons erythritol (see note)
- 1 block (8 oz) ⅓ fat cream cheese
- ⅓ cup light sour cream
- 4 tablespoons erythritol (see note)
- ¼ teaspoon pure stevia extract powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
- 8 grams (1 envelope) gelatin powder
- 1 large egg
- ½ block (4 oz) ⅓ fat cream cheese, room temperature
- (optional) ⅛ teaspoon pure stevia extract powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- Preheat oven to 325 ℉.
- Combine all crust ingredients in a mixing bowl. Use your hand to break any big clumps. You can mix them in a food processor if you have one.
- Line a 12-cup regular size muffin pan with paper liner. Lightly spray with canola oil. Scoop approximately 16 grams of the crust mixture into each muffin cup. Press the mixture down firmly with the bottom of a small glass. Transfer the muffin pan into the preheated oven and bake for 6 minutes.
- Remove the muffin pan from the oven. Set aside.
- Before mixing all ingredients together, be sure they are all warmed to room temperature. Otherwise, it’s hard to beat them to a smooth consistency. I usually leave them on the counter for 1 hour before I start the process. Cream cheese should be soft to the touch of a finger when it’s ready for mixing.
- Use a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese for 2 minutes until it’s fluffy. Add the remaining cheesecake filling ingredients except egg and mix until it’s smooth. Add egg and mix for 1 minute. If you don’t have a hand mixer, you can use a fork and spatula for this step.
- Preheat oven to 350 ℉.
- Scoop the cheesecake filling to fill the prepared muffin pan ¾-full. Bake for 18 minutes until the center of the cheesecake is set. To test, you can insert a toothpick, and it should come out clean (no soft cheesecake filling stuck to it).
- Leave the oven door open and let the baked mini cheesecakes rest in the warm oven for 10 minutes. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and let the cheesecakes completely cool to room temperature. Do not remove them from the muffin pan while they’re cooling.
- Place the muffin pan in refrigerator and let the cheesecake chill completely. Approximately 2 hours. Remove the cheesecakes, along with the paper liner, from the muffin pan.
- Combine the cream cheese and stevia (if any) in a bowl. Beat with a hand mixer or a fork until it’s fluffy.
- Assemble a pastry bag with a tip. Fill the pastry bag with the whipped cream cheese. Pipe an appropriate amount onto each pumpkin mini cheesecake. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on top. Serve cold.
2. If you don't have pasty bag and tips, you can use a small spoon to scoop the whipped cream cheese onto the mini cheesecakes and then sprinkle some cinnamon powder to decorate.